The announcement of the closure of the William Grant and Sons facility in Clonmel was raised in the Dáil by Tipperary Independent TDs Seamus Healy and Mattie McGrath.
Up to fifty jobs are to be lost when the Tullamore Dew whiskey bottling operation moves to a new site in Tullamore. The first phase of job losses is scheduled for the end of September and the plan will be fully closed by the end of next year.
Deputy Healy told the Dail that the company had a dedicated workforce who worked hard over the years at the facility and the closure had come as a shock to them.
“It is a big blow also to the town of Clonmel and the surrounding area”, he said. “This closure is a concern because it is part of a pattern of job losses in Tipperary over the last period, including the significant reduction in jobs at the Bulmers plant, which is also the site of the location of the Grant’s facility. There has been significant job losses there, an undermining of terms and conditions of employment and the transfer of production from the site.”
Deputy Mattie McGrath said some 6,452 people are unemployed in South Tipperary and 7,995 people are unemployed in North Tipperary. “The blow of the loss of these jobs to Clonmel is huge”, he said. “I compliment the employees in Grants, wish them well and also sympathise with them. Action is needed now to work on developing opportunities in other areas.”
In reply, Minister Richard Bruton said the company made a strategic decision to broaden its spirits portfolio beyond Scotch and, in 2010, bought the Clonmel based spirits business of C&C. This comprised the brands of Tullamore Dew, Carolan’s Irish Cream liquor and Irish Mist. It subsequently sold the last two to Campari.
“The company subsequently decided to set up its own distillery,” he said. “The first phase, completed in late 2014, is for a malt and unmalted distillery at a total investment of €35 million. I am aware that the second phase to build a grain distillery is currently under way. I understand that the activities concerning Tullamore Dew, which historically have been located in Clonmel, will now be transferred to Tullamore and integrated into the new distillery facility.”
There are 50 jobs concerned he said and redeployment to Tullamore, as well as the timing of the relocation of businesses, is now subject to discussions with employees.